Published On: August 3, 2023

Best Streaming Devices In 2023: A Buyer's Guide

Published On: August 3, 2023
We May Earn From Purchases Via Links

Best Streaming Devices In 2023: A Buyer's Guide

Unleash the power of streaming with our top picks for the best streaming devices in 2023!

Best Streaming Devices In 2023: A Buyer's Guide

By Author: David Bates
David Bates, a dedicated home theater connoisseur, shares his passion and expertise through engaging writing. He provides insights on the latest trends, technologies, and techniques, helping others achieve optimal audiovisual experiences.

Are you tired of struggling to find the perfect streaming device that fits your entertainment needs? We've been there too, but after substantial research and testing, we're here with a solution.

This article will guide you through the top streaming devices of 2023, including their upsides and downsides. Don't just settle; discover the ideal device for binge-watching Netflix or live sports!

Key Takeaways

  • The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is the best overall streaming device for 2023, offering fast speed, high - quality visuals, and a wide selection of channels.
  • For budget-conscious buyers, the Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box is the most cost-effective option without compromising on performance or functionality.
  • iPhone users can opt for the Apple TV 4K (2022), which stands out as the fastest streaming device with superior picture quality.

Best Streaming Devices of 2023 - Quick Recommendation

Roku Streaming Stick 4K leads the pack as the best overall streaming device for 2023. It offers impressive speed, high-quality visuals and an expansive selection of channels, making it a top pick for any avid streamer.

However, no list of best streaming devices would be complete without mentioning Chromecast with Google TV. Known as the prime choice for live TV lovers, it encompasses a user-friendly interface and seamless integration with other Google services.

If budget is key, we have to tip our hats to Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box - crowned as the most cost-effective option this year without compromising on performance or functionality.

But let's not forget about Roku Express 4K Plus; its stellar value under $40 lands it firmly in our lineup of exemplary streaming devices.

For those deep in Apple's ecosystem, the Apple TV 4k (2022) is tailored just for you- standing out as the fastest streaming device available today. Its swift operations paired with unmatched picture quality make it hard to resist.

Navigating through these options guarantees you'll find your perfect match among these top-tier media streaming devices.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a compact yet significant upgrade over its predecessor, the Streaming Stick Plus. While not much has changed, the improvements are noteworthy. One notable addition is the support for Dolby Vision, ensuring your favorite streaming shows have the right color balance and contrast, provided your TV supports it too.

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Priced at $49.99, the Roku Streaming Stick 4K strikes a perfect balance between price and performance, offering snappy navigation and smooth streaming. It provides a wide range of apps, making it a great platform choice. The only reasons to consider spending more would be for hard-wired Ethernet, available in the Roku Ultra and Apple TV 4K, or specific living space demands.

In our testing, the Streaming Stick 4K delivered crisp content in both 1080p and 4K, with quick loading times for apps. While the Chromecast with Google TV is a strong contender, Roku's streamlined interface, prioritizing apps over content, gives it an edge. The Roku Streaming Stick 4K is a versatile choice, suitable for travel, as it easily enhances your hotel or Airbnb room's TV while occupying minimal space in your bag.

Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box

Currently facing stock shortages, the Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box remains an impressive option for its price. Priced at just $35.50 for a 4K streaming device, it offers a fantastic value proposition for Ultra HD streaming.

Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box

The device provides access to the same apps as the Chromecast with Google TV, but it does have some minor downsides. The integration with the Google Home remote app can be a bit inconsistent, and there is room for improvement in the smoothness of the Google Assistant search options.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box stands out as an affordable and capable choice for those seeking an excellent 4K streaming experience.

Roku Express 4K Plus

Looking for a budget-friendly 4K streaming option without compromising on performance? The new Roku Express 4K Plus is a great choice, replacing the flawed Roku Premiere. One significant improvement is the remote, which no longer requires a direct line of sight to the device for it to work. This enhances the overall user experience, making it more convenient to use.

Roku Express 4K+ Package

With UHD image quality and snappy performance, the Roku Express 4K Plus offers excellent value for its price of $34.99. However, it is worth noting that it could benefit from a slightly heavier build, as some users may find it a bit tricky to position it flat on a surface.

While the Roku Streaming Stick Plus may have an advantage in this regard, the Roku Express 4K Plus remains a top pick for budget-conscious consumers seeking reliable 4K streaming. Keep in mind that if you prioritize A/V standards like Dolby Vision or Atmos Audio, you might need to explore other options.

Chromecast with Google TV 4K

The Chromecast with Google TV 4K has elevated the traditional streaming device by offering a more complete and integrated experience. It impresses with its seamless live TV integration, providing access to free TV and select paid live TV streaming services like YouTube TV, Sling, and Philo. The device delivers excellent picture quality with 4K UHD streaming, supporting HDR and Dolby Vision, while Dolby Atmos ensures immersive sound.

People often like to compare Chromecast with Smartcast, and while both do have their advantages, we ultimate give the edge to the former due to its high-quality 4K streaming.

Google Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

The inclusion of Google TV brings an interface and operating system that supports a vast array of Android TV apps, numbering over 6,500. Despite not being as minimalist as its predecessor, the Chromecast 3, the new Chromecast remote stands out with its versatility.

It offers power and volume controls for your TV, along with a TV Input button to switch to other devices like gaming consoles. The remote's design and build quality have received praise, featuring a comfortable grip and responsive buttons, with minimal branded app buttons, a notable improvement over competitors like Roku and Fire TV remotes.

The only drawback of the Chromecast with Google TV 4K is its occasional slow menu navigation, but ongoing updates aim to address this issue. Additionally, thanks to a new deal, the device now offers access to over 800 free TV channels. For those seeking a more budget-friendly option without 4K, Google also offers the Chromecast with Google TV HD, which provides a similar Chromecast experience at a lower cost.

Apple TV 4K (2022)

The Apple TV 4K is a great option for Apple users. It comes equipped with the new A15 Bionic chip, resulting in super-fast load times for apps like Netflix, YouTube, Disney Plus, and Spotify, outperforming competitors like the Fire TV Cube and Roku Ultra.

Apple TV 4K (2022)

Notably, HDR10+ is now supported (if your TV is compatible), and the remote charges via USB-C instead of Lightning. Smart home enthusiasts will appreciate the inclusion of Thread support for Matter, but an Ethernet port requires an additional $20 purchase, unlike the Roku Ultra, which includes it by default.

The tvOS interface remains one of the cleanest and most user-friendly out there. However, some users have experienced issues with the Apple TV remote, particularly with TV volume controls.

For sports fans, Apple TV Plus now allows watching up to four streams at once for MLS and MLB games. Look for the grid icon button in the interface to add multiple streams. Overall, the Apple TV 4K is a top-tier streaming device that offers impressive performance and features, especially for Apple enthusiasts.

Nvidia Shield TV

Nvidia Shield TV stands out as a top-tier Android TV device, especially for power users. Its unique design resembles a mobile power charger, making it unlike any other streaming device in appearance. Despite its small size, it delivers speedy UHD 4K content playback and offers access to thousands of apps, providing an extensive range of content options.

Nvidia Shield TV

The included remote control is a highlight, featuring an illuminating feature for easy use in the dark. Additionally, if you prefer a game controller, you can use PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers with the Shield TV, eliminating the need for a packed-in controller.

Overall, the Nvidia Shield TV is a fantastic choice for those who prioritize performance and are willing to invest in a high-quality streaming device. Its sleek design and comprehensive app selection make it a top pick for power users in the Android TV market.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The Fire TV Stick 4K Max's inclusion on this list is noteworthy, as it marks the return of a Fire TV Stick after a while. During testing, Amazon has significantly improved speed issues that had been present in their previous sticks, enhancing everyday navigation and app load times.

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

The device supports Wi-Fi 6, making it a great option for those with compatible routers. The addition of a Live TV button on the remote allows for quick access to the TV Guide for cord-cutter apps.

Overall, the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is a standard streamer, offering all the necessary apps and features like Dolby Atmos sound, Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+. It comes in a utilitarian matte black design.

While it would have been preferable if it had replaced the existing Fire TV Stick 4K at the same price, the slight increase in cost is worth it for those who want an Amazon Fire TV streaming device.

Pros and Cons of Each Streaming Device

In this section, we're going to dive into the pros and cons of each streaming device we’ve listed for 2023. This will help you understand what makes each gadget stand out and where they might fall short.

DeviceProsCons
Roku Streaming Stick 4KIt's the best overall streaming device for 2023. It has a Wi-Fi range extender and Dolby Vision upgrade for 2023.Some users may find the interface slightly less intuitive compared to competitors.
Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming BoxIt's the best cheap streaming device for 2023.The build quality may not be as sturdy as some other options.
Roku Express 4K PlusIt's the best value streaming device under $40 for 2023.May not offer as many features compared to premium options.
Chromecast with Google TVIt's the best streaming device for Live TV for 2023.The interface may be confusing for some users.
Apple TV 4K (2022)It's the fastest streaming device for 2023 for iPhone users.It's more expensive than other streaming devices.
Nvidia Shield TVIt's the best Android TV streaming device for 2023 and also offers gaming capabilities.The gaming capabilities may not be relevant for non-gamer users.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K MaxIt's the best Fire TV stick for 2023, with faster performance and neat live TV integration.Amazon Prime is required to get the most out of this device.

Each device has its strengths and weaknesses, so it's just about figuring out which pros outweigh the cons for your specific needs.

How We Tested the Streaming Devices

We began our in-depth review of each streaming device by taking into account various key features. This involved scrutinizing the ease of setup, evaluating the user interface's friendliness and functionality, assessing both video and audio quality, plus diving into any extra features like gaming capabilities or voice search functionality.

A man watching TV and holding a remote

Each aspect was thoroughly tested to ensure we could provide accurate information.

Overall performance became a crucial component during testing as well. We wanted to understand how these devices performed under different conditions - from streaming high-definition movies to live sports events.

The goal was not just to find the best streaming device but also identify which ones offer greater value for their price. With every test conducted, we deepened our understanding of what makes a great streaming experience for users at all levels.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Streaming Device

Choosing the right streaming device for your needs is important. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Compatibility: Make sure the streaming device works with your TV and other devices.
  2. Streaming options: Check if the device supports all the streaming services you use.
  3. User interface: Look for a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate.
  4. Performance: Consider the processing power and speed of the device for smooth streaming.
  5. Remote control: Look for a remote control that is comfortable to use and has useful features.
  6. Connectivity: Check if the device has both wired and wireless connectivity options.
  7. Storage capacity: Consider how much storage space you need for apps and downloads.
  8. Price: Set a budget and choose a streaming device that offers good value for money.

The Best Streaming Device for Different User Needs

We understand that everyone's streaming needs are different, so we've giving our recommendations for best streaming devices for every type of user.

Best Value Streaming Device

The Roku Express 4K Plus is our top pick for the best value streaming device under $40. With its affordable price tag, it offers excellent features and performance that won't break the bank.

It supports 4K resolution, allowing you to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows in stunning detail. Setting up the Roku Express 4K Plus is a breeze, thanks to its simple interface and user-friendly remote control.

Another great cheap value option is Onn. 4K Google TV Streaming Box with its stunning 4K Ultra HD Resolution. It supports Google Assistant voice control, and you can stream numerous services like Netflix, HBO MAX, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount, Apple TV, YouTube, Star+, Starz.

Best Live TV Streaming Device

The Chromecast with Google TV emerges as the top choice for live TV streaming. It excels in its ability to surface a wide range of live TV options, making it incredibly convenient for users who want to access their favorite shows and channels in real-time.

With its user-friendly interface and robust search capabilities, finding and watching live TV has never been easier. Additionally, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is another impressive option for live TV streaming.

Not only does it offer faster performance compared to other Fire TV sticks, but it also seamlessly integrates live TV into its interface, providing a smooth and hassle-free experience for users looking to enjoy their favorite television programs instantly.

Best Streaming Device for iPhone Users

The best streaming device for iPhone users is the Apple TV 4K (2022). It offers faster performance, and a clean interface. With its A15 Bionic system-on-chip upgrade, it delivers fastest loading times ever seen on a streaming device.

However, if you're looking for seamless integration with live TV, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max is your best bet.

Best Android TV streaming device

The Nvidia Shield TV stands out as the best Android TV streaming device for 2023. It not only offers a seamless streaming experience but also provides gaming capabilities. With its powerful processor and graphics, it allows users to enjoy their favorite games right on their TV screens.

The Nvidia Shield TV supports various popular streaming apps and comes with a user-friendly interface, making it an excellent choice for those who want to take their entertainment to the next level.

Whether you're watching movies, streaming shows, or playing games, the Nvidia Shield TV delivers top-notch performance and versatility as the best Android TV streaming device on the market.

Best Amazon Fire TV Streaming Device

The Best Amazon Fire TV streaming device is the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite. It's a budget-friendly option that offers high-quality streaming with support for FHD and HDR. The device comes with an Alexa voice remote, making it easy to navigate and control your content.

As part of Amazon's Fire TV ecosystem, it gives you access to a wide selection of streaming services and apps. Whether you're looking to watch movies, binge-watch your favorite TV shows, or even play games, the Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite has got you covered.

Plus, its compact design makes it easy to take with you wherever you go.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the best streaming device for 2023, there are several top contenders that offer a range of features and capabilities. Whether you're looking for the best overall performance, affordable options, or seamless integration with your existing devices, there's a streaming device out there to suit your needs.

Consider factors like price, content availability, and user interface when making your decision. Happy streaming!

FAQs

What are the top streaming devices for 2023?

The top streaming devices for 2023 include popular options such as Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku Streaming Stick, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast.

How do I choose the right streaming device for my needs?

Consider factors such as your preferred streaming services, compatibility with your existing devices (e.g., TV or smartphone), available storage capacity, and additional features like voice control or gaming capabilities.

Can I use a streaming device if I don't have a smart TV?

Yes, you can use a streaming device even if you don't have a smart TV. Streaming devices can connect to your TV through HDMI ports and provide access to various streaming platforms and apps.

Are there any subscription fees or additional costs associated with using a streaming device?

While most streaming devices offer free access to basic services like YouTube or Netflix, some premium content may require subscription fees. Additionally, certain channels or apps may offer rentals or purchases of movies and shows at an extra cost. It is important to review the terms and pricing of each platform before subscribing or making purchases through your chosen streamer.

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